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Ok, I’ve been googling all over the place today trying to figure out how to properly clean my new Camelbak! I seriously have issues with this company NOT including some type of paperwork with the $55 product so that the new owner knows what to put in it and what NOT to put in it, how it should look while you’re wearing it, etc…..

I DO like the pack! It’s super cute and I think it will meet my needs for hydration on long runs really well — but honestly — I think some of my concerns are pretty valid too. 

So….turns out, that most Camelbak owners do NOT use any type of sports drink in their packs!  What the heck? That would have been good to know in advance. And….it also would have created a problem since long distance runners can’t really get by without some type of fuel on the run besides water! Hmmmm —

Anyways… I know other runners use these things. My buddy, B, is one of them. And, I also know she’s dealt with the weird moldy things growing in her tubing at some point when she left her pack in her truck with some sports drink in it. I guess I assumed that it only happened from getting left in a car — but that it wouldn’t be a problem if you cleaned it.

So… looks like I’m going to have to buy a special little kit for cleaning the tubing and bladder and some type of tablets that fizz sort of to steralize the thing – and will have to do so every time I use a sports drink in the pouch! I’m fine with that –but would have loved some info upfront.

I also found that air drying the little bladder is way harder than you’d think. I found out online you can place a kids’ coat hanger inside the thing, then tip it upside down on a counter to help gravity pull out every last drip of water – and let the air circulate better inside. Mine is doing that right now.

I’m still not sure how to deal with the mouth piece. It’s some cool engineered thing that looks totally closed when you stare at it, but if you bite it, a slit opens up and you can drink (reminds this Mom of five of a sippy cup quite frankly – and Lord knows I’ve had battles keeping THOSE things squeakly clean!!)

Thinking further about the Camelbak has also brought up the pros and cons of my former waist pack that I’ve used for longer runs in the past year and three months that I’ve been running.
The pros:
1. It’s small and not very heavy.
2. You can fit your cell phone, shock blox, keys and water bottle all in it and still have room for a few extras like bandaids and a whistle to scare away bad guys and dogs (no, it doesn’t work, but, yes, I carry it.)
3. You can spin it around very easily to get to all said luggage and water/sports drink. You can even do this quite easily while running. Get thirsty, or hear your cell phone, and spin the pack, grab what you need and keep trucking along. (Just a note – you CANNOT easily get to the things inside your Camelbak without taking the whole thing off!)
4. It’s fairly inexpensive. My pack was around $20 15 years ago when my Mom bought it (mine is a hand-me-down) – and they still run about the same price.

The Cons
1. The waist pouch BOUNCES badly – especially with a full water bottle (mine is 20 oz.)
2. It rides UP or DOWN -but never just sits nicely at my waist. This has been a constant source of irritation to me.
3. It looks dorky!!! I feel like I’m wearing a fanny pack!!!!!!!!!!!  So, the coolness factor is zero!
4. They wear out pretty easily. Mine has huge holes now. The material is pretty thin and my Mom only used it one time before she gave it to me and I’d say I’ve used it maybe 35 – 50 times total – and it’s totally useless to hold anything right now.

So….. I’m still going to need to use my Camelbak several more times before I can give a full and fair review of it — but I do think that there are still opportunities out there to build an even better product for long distance runners – that CAN handle things like sports drinks without going all moldy and that will allow a runner to reach into the pockets without coming to a full stop and taking the backpack off.) I hope they invent it by the time my new toy wears out.

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